Prep football preview: L-Cats look to bounce back at Lodi this week
Lake Mills looks to bounce back from a lopsided defeat against crosstown rival Lakeside Lutheran last week with a road game against defending Division 4 state champion Lodi on Friday.
The L-Cats (5-2, 2-1 Capitol North) can clinch a playoff berth with a victory. Lodi (7-0, 3-0 Capitol North) narrowly avoided an upset with a last-second field goal to beat last place Columbus 10-8 last week, so the Blue Devils are clearly human compared to last season.
“Last year, they were overwhelming,” Lake Mills football coach Dan Ferkovich said. “This year, they have a lot less seniors. That’s always nice.”
Lodi remains a power running team that mixes in play action passes on offense and aggressive defense. Zach Potter is third in the league in passing yardage (551). Colton Nicolay leads the league in rushing with 622 yards. Austin Soehle had 418 rushing yards. Kade Parsons and Riley Faust lead the receiving corps.
Columbus managed to slow down Lodi’s running attack last week.
“They played aggressive on defense and shot gaps,” Ferkovich said. “If they had a puller, the defensive end was on the hip of the guard, and they got penetration against their line, which is usually hard to do. When you create havoc in backfield against a power I team, if you can close holes and identify formations (you can have success).”
Lake Mills faced two other Power I teams this season, Poynette and Mauston, and got the job done defensively.
“All season long, even against Menomonie and even Friday against Lakeside Lutheran, our defense still played pretty well,” Ferkovich said. “Offense is where we’ve got to get things figured out and ironed out.”
Lake Mills sophomore quarterback Adam Moen leads the league in passing with 1,657 yards. Hunter Buechel (483), Matt Johnson (463) and Luke Pierce (345) remain first, second and third in the league in receiving yardage, but the L-Cats were slowed by Lakeside a week ago. The Warriors returned two interceptions for touchdowns.
“The defensive ends would drop off,” Ferkovich said. “Their defensive backs still played man. Where we got in trouble was (Lakeside defensive end Cameron Paske) dropped back from pressure. If you give Adam too much pressure — he doesn’t run like (our previous quarterback) Ben Dunkleberger, but he will. Paske dropped back and tipped the ball to himself (and scored). On the other one, Adam was scrambling and the receiver came back to the quarterback like he is supposed to do. Adam threw it where he was. They were not on the same page. The DB (Matt Davis) was still following and behind him, and it landed in his arms (to set up the other pick six).”
Lodi can be disruptive defensively as well.
“We expect aggressive linebackers, and potential switches by their defensive backs when we run route combinations,” Ferkovich said. “I expect twists and stunts with defensive linemen and linebackers, switching levels and playing close and bailing out … delayed blitzes and coming up. We know teams will switch things up against us. They run the same things as we do, too.”
As humbling as last week’s loss was, the L-Cats have the potential for another big run at the end of the season.
“We’ve got a chance to clinch a playoff spot, and potentially be 7-2, if we can win (this week and next week),” Ferkovich said. “We could be going into playoffs 7-2 with losses to Lakeside, which is not a bad loss at all, and Menomonie.
Nobody in D4 is going to beat Menomonie. We still have a great resume.”
In other games Friday, Lakeside Lutheran hosts Poynette, Jefferson hosts East Troy, Horicon/Hustisford hosts Pardeeville in Hustisford, Dodgeland travels to Princeton to face Montello/Princeton/Green Lake and Waterloo is on the road to take on New Glarus/Monticello.
(4-3, 0-3 Capitol.North)
(6-1, 3-0 Capitol North)
Lakeside hosts Poynette in its regular season home finale, but could easily play home turf again in the postseason with wins over the Pumas and at Lodi next week.
Poynette quarterback Jackson Elsing is second in the league in passing with 810 yards. Sawyer Moll is third in the league in rushing with 573 yards.
“They like to run the football,” Lakeside Lutheran football coach Paul Bauer said.
“The numbers don’t bear that out, because they have gotten behind in some games and thrown it a lot in those situations, but historically and early in games … we think they’ll come at us and try to run it.”
Bauer believes his defense has improved greatly over time. The Warriors are coming off a decisive 41-13 win over Lake Mills punctuated by two defensive scores.
“It’s getting better,” Bauer said of his defense. “I thought our tackling took a nice step forward last week. I thinks it’s a work in progress. We’re getting better each game now. We changed our scheme in the offseason. We’re still a four man front, but we were a team that was playing man to man 90 percent of the time. We were having trouble with Lake Mills in particular, so we changed to a new scheme in offseason. We are playing more zone certainly than in the past.”
Bauer respect’s Poynette size on defense.
“They’ve got some big size up front, with a couple 300-pounders,” Bauer said. “We are always going to try to run the ball, but our goal for this year is to get at least 15 passes per game to try to balance things up a little bit. That’s kind of the goal going into every game.”
The Warriors welcomed back senior quarterback Jack Monis from injury last week. Senior running back Casey Ponyicsanyi has dealt with injury problems as well, but both played effectively in the win over Lake Mills last week. Lakeside heads into this game relative healthy.
“Micah Cody is a starting middle linebacker for us,” Bauer said. “He was gimpy last week with a knee. I hope he’s ready to go this week.”
East Troy (5-2 Rock Valley) at Jefferson (5-2 Rock Valley)
Jefferson goes for a third straight Rock Valley win in the regular season home finale against East Troy.
The Trojans are loaded on offense. Quarterback Jake Dessart leads the league in rushing 1,665 yards, and also has 333 yards passing. Dylan Jakscht (763 rushing) and Jacob Price (272 receiving) are the other skill players to watch.
“The last I checked, (Dessart) was one of the leading rushers in the state,” Jefferson football coach Steve Gee said. “He’s a track kid, big and strong. A 3 yard gain turns into 70 yard run, because he makes a cut and makes you look silly, or breaks tackles, Our assignment is make them earn it … four yards at a time, not 3, 3, 60. That’s a challenge. East Troy made a commitment three years ago to go with a crew of guys and took their lumps. They are seeing the fruits of their labor now that they are seniors.”
Jefferson senior running back Nolan Klawitter remains questionable due to injury. Senior Ryan Brost (609 yards passing, 445 rushing) and senior receiver Ben Sukow (402 receiving) have gotten the job done in wins over Clinton and Beloit Turner the last two weeks, along with receiver Korbin Simdon.
East Troy has the size edge with its defense.
“They are a little bit bigger than us, but so is Turner,” Gee said. “We have a quarterback that can make plays. We have to find ways to (attack them). If they pack the box, we have to pass. If they protect the outside, we have to run inside. It’s going to be a little bit of a chess match. It should be fun.”
(4-3, 2-2 Large Trailways)
at MPGL (1-5, 0-3)
Dodgeland draws the assignment of facing Montello/Princeton/Green Lake’s multiple offensive formations in Princeton.
“There’s no way I could coach that many things,” Dodgeland football coach Doug Miller said.
“I just couldn’t. They use a lot of formations and different plays with each formation. Of course, they’ve been prone to mistakes, but they’ve got athletes. They’ve played people well. Horicon/Hustisford was a 14-7 game at halftime. They’ve got kids that can do things.”
Buxton Toutant (438 yards) alternates with Drew Torres at quarterback. BJ Konkel (269 rushing yards) and Abe Postler (258) are the featured backs. Brad Myers is the leading receiver with 293 yards.
Dodgeland junior running back Nate Oestreich leads the league in rushing with 729 yards. Senior running back Peter Mountin is third in rushing with 542 yards. Junior quarterback Tye Bader is third in passing with 569 yards.
“Defensively, they fly around a lot,” Miller said. “They hustle and they hit. They are not afraid to do that stuff.
“They’ve been pretty good against the run. It’s a contrast in styles across our league. Everyone else is in spread but us. Six schools run spread plays. Everybody’s got their own things. We never see anybody defend anybody that plays like us.”
Dodgeland can become playoff eligible for a fourth consecutive season with a victory.
“We don’t think too far ahead,” Miller said. “We just want to win this and then we want a chance to match up with Horicon/Hustisford. We’re coming off two good performances says a little something after going up to Pittsville and not playing well and getting beat by a better team and losing one of our better defenders. We’ve bounced back real.”
(4-3, 2-2 Large Trailways)
at Horicon/Husty (6-1, 4-0)
Pardeeville was stampeded by Dodgeland 35-0 last week, while Horicon/Hustisford lit up Parkview 55-12.
“That’s probably the best game Dodgeland’s played all year, that we’ve seen on film,” Horicon/Hustisford football coach Shannon Mueller said. “That was their homecoming and those boys came to play.”
Dual threat quarterback Tyler Kowald, fullback Daniel Woehlfert and receiver Derek Lindert lead the Bulldogs on offense.
“(Lindert) is only a freshman but he looks like a talented kid,” Mueller said. “He has good body size already. That’s their offense in a nutshell. Those three are their main offense.
“No. 83 (junior tight end James Trahms) is a big, strong young man. He looks like a stud defensively at defensive end. He’s a good tight end as a blocker and a receiver at times.
“(Kowald) is one of their few returners. I am blown away by what their coaching staff is doing there. They are not returning hardly anybody. That was a senior dominated team last year.
Husticon junior quarterback Dylan Schmitt is second in the league in passing (714 yards). Senior running back CJ Brooks is second in the league in rushing (625). Senior receiver Justin Kuehl third in the league in receiving (470).
Brooks remains day to day with an injury.
“Chances are high he will be ready,” Mueller said.
(0-7, 0-3 Capitol South)
at New Glarus/Monticello
(3-4, 1-1 Capitol South)
New Glarus/Monticello stepped out of conference and routed Iowa-Grant 41-6 last week. The Glarner Knights narrowly beat Belleville 13-9 in Week 5 and narrowly lost to Marshall 18-13 in Week 6.
New Glarus/Monticello junior quarterback Connor Siegelthaler is third in the league in passing with 709 yards. Senior receiver Trevor Gassman is second in the league in receiving yardage with 335.
Sophomore running back Darris Schuett is third in the league in receiving yardage with 291 yards.